New U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Ian C. Kelly, presented his credentials to President Giorgi Margvelashvili on September 17.
Kelly, who has been in the foreign service for about 30 years, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as ambassador to Georgia in late June, replacing Richard Norland.
“I have always wanted to serve in Tbilisi,” Kelly told journalists shortly after arriving in Tbilisi on September 16.
“My main priority I think will be to support Georgia and to deepen bilateral relationships between U.S. and Georgia. And one of the main priorities of the United States is to support Georgia and its aspirations to become more integrated with Euro-Atlantic institutions.”
“I feel very confident in saying that I don’t think you will find a stronger advocate for Georgia and its Euro-Atlantic vocation, and I don’t think you’ll find a more passionate supporter for deepening U.S.-Georgian relations,” he said.
New US AMB Ian Kelly: I don’t think you’ll find a more passionate supporter for deepening US-Georgian relations pic.twitter.com/rSLyG5oYO4— U.S. Embassy Tbilisi (@EmbassyTbilisi) September 17, 2015
Kelly served as State Department spokesman in 2009-2010 and was the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE in 2010-2013. He also served as a co-chair of the Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution in December, 2012-September, 2013.
Ambassador Kelly’s previous assignments also include being the director of the Office of Russian Affairs at the Department of State in 2007-2009, public affairs adviser at the U.S. mission in NATO, press attaché at the U.S. embassies in Italy and Turkey.
As the director of Democratic Initiatives to the Newly Independent States at the State Department in 1994-1996, he was coordinating the activities of about dozen federal agencies involved in democracy programs in the former Soviet Union countries.
Also on September 17, new Swiss ambassador to Georgia, Lukas Beglinger, presented his credentials to President Margvelashvili. Previously Beglinger served as head of mission in Warsaw. Switzerland acts as a diplomatic mediator between Russia and Georgia since the two countries have cut diplomatic relations after the August 2008 war.